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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Wednesday - February 26, 2014

From: Nottingham, England
Region: Other
Topic: Non-Natives, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Damage to Yucca rostrata from Nottingham, England
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi, I have a yucca rostrata which has had its head snapped off in high winds (we live in Nottingham, England) we have left the trunk in the ground, will this re grow?? What is the best thing to do with the head? can we re plant this? If so, how? The tree is 3 metres in height including the head.

ANSWER:

Because we could not find Yucca rostrata in our Native Plant Database, we hunted by that name on the Internet and found this from San Marcos (Texas) Growers. Several other references mentioned this as native to Texas, which ordinarily would mean that it would be in our Native Plant Database.

All of which is neither here nor there, because the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, in Austin TX, is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown. The administrators of our database are usually very careful that no non-native plants get into the database, so we can't even send you our plant information on your plant. What we can tell you for sure, is that there is NO yucca native to England. Yuccas are desert plants, used to growing in harsh, alkaline soils in blazing sun with little rain. If yours fell over, it may have been more as a result of surprise at being in such a lush, rainy climate than that of high winds.

Since it doesn't appear to be native to North America, and we know it's not native to England, the best we can do is refer you to the link to a Central Texas grower (San Marcos (Texas) Growers) that we gave you above. They have a very good article on the care of the plant.  We will say that if the stalk broken was a flowering stalk, no, it will not grow back, but neither will the plant die, as happens when the flowering stalks of some agaves are broken or cut off. We suggest you trim off the broken stalk and give the plant a chance to decide if it is going to live or die. And if it recovers, it will put up more bloom stalks.

Also, since we obviously cannot help you, we found a Q&A on yuccas in England from BBC Lancashire. From a company called Tropical Britain, we found this order form for Yucca rostrata, so you know we believe you when you say you have one, we just don't know how to answer your question.

 

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